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Husband of strangled teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck speaks out

The body of mother-of-two Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was found in a cemetery on Saturday

The grieving husband of a teaching assistant found strangled in a cemetery after going missing two weeks ago said her death has ‘broken’ him.

Tim Birbeck, 49, was left devastated after his wife Lindsay, 47, was found at Accrington Cemetery on the outskirts of the Lancashire town on Saturday.

Last night a 16-year-old boy was arrested by Lancashire Police on suspicion of murder and is being held in custody.

One of the couple’s two children, Steven Birbeck, 19, said the person who killed his mother had robbed her of the chance to become a grandmother.

A post mortem examination revealed Mrs Birbeck died as a result of compression of the neck, and reports have suggested the body had been concealed.

Responding to posts on Facebook, Mr Birbeck, who is chairman of nearby Hapton Parish Council, told a friend he was ‘broken mate, it certainly hurt’.

Forensic officers gather evidence in a garden opposite Accrington Cemetery today

Forensic officers gather evidence in a garden opposite Accrington Cemetery today

Tim Birbeck's comments on Facebook

Tim Birbeck's comments on Facebook

Her wife Tim Birbeck has praised police for the ‘speedy arrest and the way you have been with my family’, but added: ‘It is horrendous watching our children go through this’

Mr Birbeck told a friend of the death of his wife that he was 'broken mate, it certainly hurt'

Mr Birbeck told a friend of the death of his wife that he was ‘broken mate, it certainly hurt’

He also praised police for the ‘speedy arrest and the way you have been with my family’, but added: ‘It is horrendous watching our children go through this.’

The couple had two children, and their daughter Sarah, 16, got her GCSE results last week. Steven said: ‘I’ve always cherished the thought of seeing my mum smile.

Mrs Birbeck's husband Tim, 49, is chairman of nearby Hapton Parish Council

Mrs Birbeck’s husband Tim, 49, is chairman of nearby Hapton Parish Council

‘The fact that she will never see me and my sister grow up and not going to be there on our wedding days and never see her grandchildren deeply saddens us. All taken by some selfish person who deserves what comes around.’

The discovery of the body brought to an end an extensive search. Thousands of people in the community were involved in handing out flyers and looking for her.

More than 19,000 people had joined a Facebook group to assist emergency services with the search for the worker at Ightenhill Primary School in Burnley.

Police extended the search as far as a rural quarry but discouraged the public from arranging their own search groups due to the ‘dangerous terrain’.

Mrs Birbeck was last seen on CCTV in Burnley Road, not far from the cemetery, at 4.10pm on Monday, August 12.

Police are seen searching the garden of a house opposite the cemetery in Accrington today

Police are seen searching the garden of a house opposite the cemetery in Accrington today

One of the couple's two children, Steven Birbeck, 19, said the person who killed his mother had robbed her of the chance to become a grandmother

One of the couple’s two children, Steven Birbeck, 19, said the person who killed his mother had robbed her of the chance to become a grandmother

Mrs Birbeck was last seen on CCTV at 4.10pm on August 12

In the footage, 5ft 11ins Mrs Birbeck was wearing a purple bubble jacket, black leggings and dark trainers with white soles

Mrs Birbeck was last seen on CCTV at 4.10pm on August 12. In the footage, 5ft 11ins Mrs Birbeck was wearing a purple bubble jacket, black leggings and dark trainers with white soles

Police said her disappearance was ‘completely out of character’. Her Huawei mobile phone has not been used since she disappeared and is still missing.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, of the force’s major investigation team, said: ‘The response to our earlier appeal has been absolutely overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone who has come forward with information.

‘While we have made an arrest our inquiries are very much continuing and I would continue to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

‘However, I would urge people not to speculate and to be mindful of the comments they make, especially on social media, as this causes distress to the family and could impact on our investigation.’

Police, pictured at the scene today, said her disappearance was 'completely out of character'

Police, pictured at the scene today, said her disappearance was ‘completely out of character’

Police investigate in Accrington today, with the mother-of-two's mobile phone still missing

Police investigate in Accrington today, with the mother-of-two’s mobile phone still missing

A forensic officer looks at a mobile phone at the scene of the probe in Accrington today

A forensic officer looks at a mobile phone at the scene of the probe in Accrington today

Yesterday, police also released CCTV images of a suspect walking along Burnley Road towards Accrington with a blue wheelie bin at about 2.30pm on August 17.

A bin similar to the one in the footage was found near the scene where Mrs Birbeck was discovered, police said.

A large team of detectives have been working on the case since Saturday.

Earlier this week police also issued an appeal to walkers and dash cam owners in a bid to identify a potential witness.

Hundreds of people gathered at The Coppice in Accrington last week to search for Mrs Birbeck

Hundreds of people gathered at The Coppice in Accrington last week to search for Mrs Birbeck

Lancashire Police said Mrs Birbeck's body was found at Accrington Cemetery on Saturday

Lancashire Police said Mrs Birbeck’s body was found at Accrington Cemetery on Saturday

Over the weekend, one of Mrs Birbeck’s friends, Sharon Griffiths, wrote a heartbreaking appeal on social media.

In a post to her friend of 26 years, she said: ‘You have created so many fun filled happy memories which I have reminisced over and over again since you went away on Monday August 12.

‘I still can’t understand why my beautiful friend is not here making me laugh and cry like you did every time we were together or messaging via WhatsApp. 

She added: ‘You light up the room where ever you go and at the moment my room has gone dim.’

A special remembrance walk will take place in memory of Mrs Birbeck on Thursday.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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